ARE YOU ENTITLED TO A SUPPORTING DEPOSITION WHEN ISSUED A NEW YORK TRAFFIC TICKET?
Unless your New York Traffic Ticket was issued in New York City, Buffalo and parts of Suffolk County you are entitled as a matter of law to a supporting deposition on all moving violations (including: speeding, red lights, tailgating, unsafe lane change and failure to signal) . You must however, ask for it.
As experienced New York traffic court lawyers, demanding a supporting deposition from the complainant/police officer is one of many tools in our arsenal to help us successfully fight traffic violations. While it is clearly not the right tactic in every case, it can be an effective, although procedurally difficult tactic.
New York Criminal Procedure Law § 100.25(2) provides that a defendant charged by a simplified information is, upon a timely request, entitled as a matter of right to a supporting deposition of a complainant police officer and that upon such a request, a court must order the officer to serve a copy of the same within 30 days of the date such request is received by the court, or at least five days before trial, whichever is earlier. N.Y. CPL § 100.25(2).
Failure to comply with the order directing the service and filing of supporting depositions renders the traffic tickets for which they were demanded facially insufficient. CPL 100.40(2); People v. Titus, 178 Misc. 2d 687, 682 N.Y.S.2d 521 [AppTerm, 2d Dept 1998]). This failure divests this Court of jurisdiction to proceed on the simplified traffic information, a divestiture that cannot be "cured" by any attempted untimely service of the supporting deposition. People v. Aucello, 146 Misc. 2d 417, 558 N.Y.S.2d 436 (Appellate Term – Second Department 1990).
Furthermore, the plain language of CPL 100.25 (2) and CPL 100.40 (2) establishes that the designated 30-day period for supplying supporting deposition runs, not from the date of the order directing compliance with a defendant's demand, but from the date the demand is received by the court (see CPL 100.25  ; cf. CPL 100.40 ; and see People v. Titus).
Moreover, a court may not grant an adjournment to allow the People to furnish a supporting deposition after the 30-day deadline. Rather the statute sets an absolute time, which may not be altered. People v DeFeo, 77 Misc.2d 523, 355 N.Y.S.2d 905 (App Term, 2d Dept. 1974)(Defendant who requested a supporting deposition had an absolute right under statute to a supporting deposition before commencement of trial for speeding, and court's offer of an adjournment for purpose of furnishing deposition could not cure defect and thus information was insufficient on its face requiring that it be dismissed).
If you have received a traffic ticket for any traffic related matter, you might consider demanding a supporting deposition. However, an experienced attorney familiar with the attitudes of the particular court and officer you are dealing with could better guide you with your decision to request a supporting deposition. In some courts, favorable plea bargains are readily available and requesting a supporting deposition might simply annoy the judge, prosecutor and officer. In addition, a person demanding a supporting deposition must make a timely motion for dismissal.